Meet Chelsea Ward
Say hi! Would you like to introduce yourself?
Hi there! My name is Chelsea, I’m the maker behind Sketchy Notions, a collection of original artwork and handmade paper goods. I also do chalkboard lettering and calligraphy (Chalk by Chels), design a line of swear word cards (Cursive Cursing) and most recently became a co-host for Bellissima Art Retreats in Southern California and Italy. I’m also a part time art teacher for a local non-profit.
What is your favorite work ritual?
Since I have so many hats to juggle, there is no “typical” work day. An ideal day starts off at 7:00 with coffee and a quick walk with our dog. Then emails and admin work before I head out to teach classes. In the afternoon, I like to do my painting or lettering work while I still have good light and save my editing and proofing for the evening hours. Then (hopefully) bed by 10:30!
How do you cope when you feel overwhelmed?
With so many things going on, my stress levels (or what my family calls ‘the shambies’) can go into overdrive. To combat that, I try to prioritize getting that walk or gym trip in no matter what, even if it’s just 15 minutes After a late night of working with a full day to follow, a morning walk helps me mentally work through all the things I need to get done. I’ve also gotten a lot better about asking for help during market and Holiday seasons. As much as I’d like to do everything, there are always tasks that I can have friends or family help with while I tackle the jobs that only I can accomplish. Plus the company keeps me sane!
What three traits would you say are a must for someone going into business for themselves?
Three traits that I feel would be beneficial for going into business would be: perseverance, integrity, the ability to troubleshoot through challenges. Being your own boss isn’t always glamorous but you have to fight through the days of all nighters and dry spells of sales to get to the sweet spot of finding your market and creating a product you can be proud of. Integrity is a huge one for me, especially from a business standpoint. As much as taxes suck, I believe keeping your business in order and paying taxes is a defining line between having a hobby and running a business. Being able to troubleshoot is incredibly important as well. Not every commission will be the same or go according to plan, but you need to be able to work through the hiccups quickly to keep things on track, and ultimately keep your customers happy.
What has been the best advice you have received?
The best advice I’ve ever received was actually a tip for watercolor painting, “paint the dogs, then the fleas.” Don’t get caught up in all the small things without looking at the bigger picture first.